Pilot Whales Stranded on Sanday Island 65 Dead and 12 Euthanized Due to Severe Trauma
Pilot Whales Stranded on Sanday Island 65 Dead and 12 Euthanized Due to Severe Trauma

Pilot Whales Stranded on Sanday Island 65 Dead and 12 Euthanized Due to Severe Trauma

Seventy-seven long-finned pilot whales were discovered stranded on Sanday Island, part of the Orkney archipelago off Scotland. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) reported that 65 of these whales were already dead upon discovery. The remaining 12 whales were in such poor condition that efforts to save them were deemed futile.

The BDMLR stated that the 12 surviving whales had to be euthanized due to their rapidly deteriorating health after spending many hours stranded on the beach.

The organization explained that the prolonged time on the beach likely resulted in crush injuries from the whales’ own weight and a high likelihood of water inhalation from the incoming tide. The physical strain and inability to breathe properly left the whales with little chance of survival.

Pilot Whales Stranded on Sanday Island 65 Dead and 12 Euthanized Due to Severe Trauma
Pilot Whales Stranded on Sanday Island 65 Dead and 12 Euthanized Due to Severe Trauma

The BDMLR also noted that as the tide came in, the whales sank deeper into the sand, making it impossible for them to refloat themselves. This exacerbated their already critical condition and sealed their fate. Despite the efforts of the rescue team, the whales were beyond saving due to the severe trauma they experienced while stranded.

The Orkney Islands, located off the northeastern coast of mainland Scotland, are known for such incidents, although the reasons behind the mass strandings remain unclear.

The BDMLR mentioned that there were no apparent reasons for this particular stranding and that they would attempt to recover as many whales as possible for postmortem examinations. These examinations could provide insights into the cause of the stranding and the health of the whales at the time of the incident.

Mass strandings of pilot whales are not rare, as these whales often travel in close-knit groups. Scientists are still working to understand why such strandings occur. The recent stranding on Sanday Island is one of the larger incidents, though not the largest recorded.

Similar events have occurred in other parts of the world, including the stranding of about 55 pilot whales on the island of Lewis in 2023, and frequent occurrences around Australia and New Zealand.

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